Richard Dawkins has slammed the "hypocritical" police working London's Pride parade after they ordered members of Britain's Council of Ex-Muslims (CEMB) to lower their banners that read "Allah is Gay," but allowed signs that said "Jesus is Gay".
On July 23, the famed atheist and evolutionary biologist tweeted, "London gay Pride march. Police happy with 'Jesus is Gay' banners. But banned @theCEMB's 'Allah is Gay' banner. @KPFA-grade hypocrisy!".
The CEMB echoed Dawkins' observation on its website, pointing out that the Pride Parade was "full of placards saying 'God is Gay,' 'Jesus had two fathers,' as well as those mocking the church and priests and pope." Yet, when CEMB members held signs saying " Allah is Gay", the police converged "to attempt to remove them for causing 'offense.'"
"The only reasons our signs are seen to be 'provocative' are because criticism of Islam is deemed to be impermissible, because there is the constant threat of violence by Islamists against ex-Muslims but also dissenting Muslims and others in order to silence and censor, and because criticism of Islam and Islamism is erroneously conflated with an attack on Muslims," the CEMB said.
"Critics say our presence in Pride is a provocation in the weeks following the attack at Finsbury Park. But why must our criticism be linked to an attack on a mosque? Did anyone tell those holding 'Jesus had two fathers' signs that it was a provocation given that a priest was murdered in Normandy and Christians killed in Egypt? There is no connection, except of course it seems when it comes to Islam."
In response to the group's signs, the East London Mosque filed a formal complaint against Britain's Council of Ex-Muslims, claiming that the group was "inciting hatred towards Muslims."
Salman Farsi, a spokesman for the East London Mosque, told Britain's Evening Standard his mosque's decision to file a complaint against CEMB was based on the belief the sign constituted a threat:
"We've raised a complaint with the co-chairs of the event [London Pride] that the group [CEMB] was inciting hatred against Muslims, and in particular to our good name, based on absolutely groundless reasons.
"Our religion doesn't promote hatred or homophobia. Yes, there might be theological topics dealing with homosexuality in Islam, but that's clearly very separate from promoting hatred and homophobia."
Meanwhile, Berkley, California, radio station KPFA canceled an appearance by the Dawkins, scheduled for August 9, after the "God Delusion" author used "abusive speech against Islam" that "offended and hurt ... so many people".
"We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science when we didn't know he had offended and hurt - in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people."
"KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier."
In turn, Dawkins said that he had "never used abusive speech against Islam", adding that while he has called Islamism "vile", Islamism is not the same as Islam.
"I have criticized the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticized the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief. Far from attacking Muslims, I understand - as perhaps you do not - that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women," wrote the author in his response. "I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?"